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Bhima Koregaon case accused Varavara Rao’s bail plea rejected by Bombay High Court, next hearing on November 17

A Bench of Justices AK Menon and SP Tavade allowed immediate medical examination of Varvara Rao by doctors via video call.

The Bombay High Court today rejected the bail plea of ‘Urban Naxal’ Varavara Rao who had sought bail from the court citing health condition. Rao’s wife Pendyala Hemlatha had filed the bail plea under Article 226 of the Constitution seeking his immediate release citing medical grounds, as reported by Bar and Bench. The plea was filed after the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the matter and directed the Bombay High Court to his pending bail plea at the earliest. The court has adjourned the next hearing of the matter till November 17.

In the bail plea, Hemlatha had alleged that Rao was not being provided appropriate medical treatment by the government and this amounted to violation of his fundamental right to health, dignity and life under Article 21 of the Constitution. Requesting for compensation, she contended in the plea that Rao’s detention in Taloja jail, given his medical condition, amounted to cruelty. The petition filed through Advocate R Satyanarayan, stated that there was apprehension that Rao might lose his life in custody due to medical negligence of the state.

During the hearing today, a Bench of Justices AK Menon and SP Tavade allowed immediate medical examination of Rao by doctors via video call.

The Court further said that if the medical panel felt that his assessment was not possible on video call, then they could be allowed to visit the Taloja jail in consultation with the jail authorities.

The court ordered for the submission of report of medical examination before November 16.

Rao taking undue advantage of pandemic: NIA

In July this year, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) had accused Rao of attempting to take undue advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak after he applied for bail on grounds of health. In the reply filed in response to Rao’s bail plea before the Supreme Court, the NIA said, “The appellant accused Varavara Rao under the garb of the current situation on account of global pandemic Covid-19 and his old age, is trying to take an undue benefit in the aforesaid situation in seeking bail on the grounds mentioned in his application.”

In November 2018, Rao, and nine others were arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, which was initially probed by the Pune police and later transferred to the National Investigation Agency. He was arrested by Karnataka police in July 2019 in connection with a 2005 Maoist attack case registered at Tirumani and was later sent to Mumbai prison.

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